GENERATIVE CURRICULUM MODEL

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At the outset of the First Nations Partnership Programs, community representatives and the university-based team knew that what mainstream educational institutions had deemed 'best' for aboriginal students had not been nearly good enough. Dialogue with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council led to agreement to use the 'space between' First Nations and Euro-western cultures as a place to meet, hear, debate and engage in constructivist practitioner training in child care and development.

The foundation elements that guided the first partnership - the signposts for the unmapped road that the Meadow Lake Tribal Council and the First Nations Partnership Programs team would travel together - became the guiding principles for subsequent programs. They derive from a stance that is "all ways" respectful of the culturally-based knowledge that resides in First Nations communities and in established Euro-western sources.

Generative Curriculum Model: Guiding Principles

  • Support community initiative in a community-based setting
  • Promote respect "all ways" (multicultural inputs)
  • Draw upon community and individual strengths
  • Ensure a broad ecological perspective (awareness of the child in the context of family and community)
  • Provide education and career laddering for students, such that credit for this coursework will be fully applicable to future study and practice
  • Engage in co-construction of a bicultural curriculum, in which Elders and other community resource people figure prominently;
  • Provide the basis for broader child, youth, family and community-serving training and services, while the immediate focus is on early childhood care and development.



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No texts existed that could provide community-specific information, and few texts or materials provided culturally-specific information. So the initial design of the Generative Curriculum Model was not seen as radical, but necessary and sensible. Course content in the first two partnerships adopted a spiral structure, with the idea that material generated through student-instructor interaction and through the contributions of Elders would be incorporated into successive course offerings.

First Nations child

Through feedback presented in the formative evaluations, it became apparent that the spiral model for curriculum development focused too narrowly on knowledge creation as an output. We recognized that it risked leading to the same kind of pan-aboriginal representations of First Nations culture which had been rejected by the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. The image that has been confirmed by the program evaluation is a more circular representation. Each training program is seen as being a new and unique process of coming together as a 'generative community' made up largely of cultural community members, but including the university-based partners as well. All participants in this generative community are in some ways teachers and all were learners.

See also
       Intergenerational Learning